How to Cook Lobster Tails Two Different Ways

Updated on November 16, 2018
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Steaming and boiling are two very easy ways to cook lobster tails at home. Before getting started, try to get frozen lobster tails (if possible) to ensure freshness, but make sure they are thawed all the way before cooking to reduce the meat sticking to the shell. You can simply thaw the tails in the refrigerator 24 hours before you plan to cook them.

Prior to cooking, go ahead and cut out the belly membrane with kitchen scissors and crack the back shell to keep the tails from curling too much. This will also make it easier to remove the meat when they’re ready to eat (working a fork in between the cooked meat and back shell while pulling the shell off can usually do the trick). As an alternative, you can use a skewer to keep the tails from curling.

When you are ready to enjoy your cooked tails, try melted butter mixed with garlic as a dipping sauce. Melted butter with lemon juice is also delicious.

Method 1: Steaming Lobster Tails

Steaming lobster tails is probably the easiest way to cook ‘em. Of course, you need a steamer. A simple rice cooker/steamer will do the trick, or you can steam them on the stove with a stove pot steamer insert tray.

  • Steamer: Most steamers will come with an instruction booklet that includes seafood such as lobster tails. Follow the instructions for how to set up your specific steamer for shellfish/lobster tails, and then see if they have a suggested cook time per ounce. If not, go ahead and follow the “Stovetop” cook times below.
  • Stovetop: Simply bring a large pot of water to a boil, and then place the steam insert into the pot. You want the water level to sit just below the steamer tray. Then, simply place the lobster tails on the tray, cover, and let steam for 5-12 minutes (depending on the size of the lobster tails). As a guide, try 5 minutes for 5 ounce tails, 8 minutes for 8 ounce tails, 10 minutes for 10 ounce tails, and 12 minutes for 20 ounce tails. Adjust your time accordingly. If tails are slightly tough, note the size and cook time so that you can easily fine tune and reduce the cook time for that size in the future. If your tails seem undercooked, simply drop them back into the steamer for additional time.

Lobster Tails Awaiting Their Fate in a Steamer/Rice Cooker
Lobster Tails Awaiting Their Fate in a Steamer/Rice Cooker | Source

Method 2: Boiling Lobster Tails

Don’t have a steamer? No problem! You can easily boil lobster tails! Simply bring a large pot of water to a boil, add lobster tails with tongs, and let them cook. As an option, you can also add a small amount of salt to the water. Cook times will depend on tail size, but as a guide, try 5 minutes for 5-ounce tails, 8 minutes for 8-ounce tails, 10 minutes for 10-ounce tails, and 12 minutes for 20-ounce tails. Adjust your time accordingly. If tails are slightly tough, note the size and cook time so that you can easily fine tune and reduce the cook time for that size in the future. If your tails seem undercooked, simply drop them back into the water for additional time.

Have other easy lobster tail ideas? Share them below! Have sauce or serving ideas? We’d love to hear about them in the comments section below.

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